Eco Homes from the Earth: Earthships and Hobbit Houses

Categories: Building Methods

Wouldn’t it be nice to own your own green dream home, made with recycled and natural materials and packed with custom features? Whether you’re an experienced builder or have never picked up a power tool in your life, you can build a natural eco-friendly home with user-friendly, low-cost materials like cob, cordwood, straw and the dirt and wood from your own land. These natural building techniques produce beautiful homes with a small ecological footprint and tons of personality. 

Earthships and Hobbit Houses

(images via dominicspics, ECOnscious, Earthship Biotecture)

They seem to be a living part of the very earth itself, often with nothing but a façade and some windows to betray the presence of a home in the hillside. And earth-sheltered homes built partially into the ground come with some incredible benefits, like the ability to absorb and regulate heat from the sun for comfort in all seasons. Earth-sheltered homes can be built entirely underground, bermed (covered with earth on one to three sides) or built into a larger hill with just one side open. Earthships and ‘hobbit houses’ are common forms of earth-sheltered homes.

Earthships are among the most popular types of DIY eco homes around the world, utilizing discarded “junk” like stacks of earth-packed tires, bottles and cans to build custom homes in practically any shape imaginable. While most beginners in this building technique stick to simple designs that are cheap and easier to build, some models are stunningly complex.

(images via:

Among the most famous examples of a ‘hobbit house’ is “A Low Impact Woodland Home”, self-built in Wales for about 1000-1500 man-hours (over four months) and £3000. Creator Simon Dale used stone and wood from the property, straw bales covered in plaster for the walls, and lots of reclaimed and salvaged materials like hardwood flooring, doors and windows. The reciprocal roof, covered in plastic sheeting and mud/turf, is surprisingly easy to build and looks incredible.

by Steph / via WebEcoist

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